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Making Handicrafts to Build Life Skills

From the time a child is conceived, they are growing and developing. What starts as just a cell, blossoms into a beautiful and unique human being. But, the growth doesn’t stop once the infant has exited the womb.

Children continue to grow and during this time, their brains are growing and developing – their mathematics skills, their creativity, their language skills, their personality, their likes and

dislikes, and much more. There are several outside factors that play a major role in their


One of those being the active participation of arts and crafts.

Sure, arts and crafts can be messy, but children of all ages love them and it is actually good for them.

Why are arts and crafts important?

Arts and crafts are important for several different reasons…They help in the developmental

growth in children of all ages

Motor and Coordination Skills

Simple tasks such as using a pair of scissors or holding a paintbrush or a pencil helps enhance fine motor skills.

Language Development

Encourage your child to discuss with you what they have made and how they made it, as this will help improve their language skills.

Academic Skills

Through arts and crafts, children can also improve their academic skills.

For example, they are faced with counting out the correct number of beads, reading the

instructions, or writing a few words on the project.


Encourage your child to put their own creative spin on the project or allow them to determine how to display the project in a creative fashion. You will be surprised what goes on in that little imagination of theirs!

Decision Making and Critical Thinking

Creating something that can teach them how to make decisions through deciding what they will do with the finished piece, what colors will they use, what materials will be best to use.

Grab some art and crafts supplies and give some of these activities a try!

Paper Plate - Turn your plates into animals, flowers, rainbows, or caterpillars. Work on coloring, cutting, and gluing skills to make something as simple or multi-step as your child needs it to be.

Storytelling - Why not reinforce simple stories or routines by creating crafts related to what your child is learning? We love crafts that will help your child to retell, reenact, or reinforce the characters or activities in a story. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl is a great example of creating crafty materials to engage them in the story.

Mobiles - Take lacing and threading to a new 3-D level by creating a mobile of highly visually engaging materials. Beads, straws, and strings of all colors and textures attached to a coat hanger, hula hoop, or curtain rod can be fun projects to add to over time and display in your child's sensory area.

It's Not a Box! - It's way more! Turn your large cardboard box into a firetruck, police car, drive- in movie theater, camper, or anything else your imagination desires. Recruit your child to help with painting the outside of the box, drawing windows, or adding pretend-play details that will prompt ideas for play. Think smaller and turn the box into a car garage, mailbox, or television to incorporate with other play materials.

Glue and... Sensory art isn't limited to glitter and paint! Think of how to include everyday

textures into sensory play - sand, shaving cream, foam, cardboard, and rice glued to different surfaces can create a sensory collage. Take a nature walk and gather leaves, sticks, pine cones, rocks, and dirt (yes dirt!). Add a bit of glue to create a landscape, person, diorama, or mobile.

Making Music- Why not turn some of those everyday sensory materials into something

musical? Hard pasta, rice, beads, tin foil, and rubber bands all provide different auditory

feedback when you shake or roll it inside a cardboard tube. Music is a great way to engage

children with language and motor imitation, so consider turning your next craft time into a music maker.


When you plan a craft project for a child with any developmental needs, be careful to plan

something engaging that the child will be able to successfully complete.

Remember that the process is more important than the final product!

For example, in a craft project that requires kids to peel and stick shapes to decorate a face, the challenge could be the fine motor skill of "peeling". For another child, the challenge may be tolerating the "sticky" sensation. For a third child, it may be following the directions to "put on" or the visual-spatial skills to organize shapes into a face-like design.

Or, perhaps all of these skills are difficult. This is when it's important to know your child's

strengths and weaknesses, plan how you will best support them, and make a conscious effort to enable as much independence as possible while also fostering fun and success.

Arts and crafts are excellent ways to engage children in learning through play. Start small, you and your child will both feel more successful when you master the basic project and build skills from there. Incorporate your child's sensory interests into the arts and crafts projects and involve your child however possible when you're creating the sensory materials they will play with!


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